Canada and Ontario advance reconciliation with historic apologies to the seven Williams Treaties First Nations communities

News release

November 17, 2018 — Rama, ON —Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Province of Ontario, Williams Treaties First Nations

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs for Ontario joined the Chiefs and community members of the seven Williams Treaties First Nations for a special ceremony to commemorate the settlement of a longstanding dispute relating to the 1923 Williams Treaties.

At this ceremony, the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario apologized for the negative impacts of the Williams Treaties on the Williams Treaties First Nations. The apologies were made by Minister Bennett for Canada and Minister Rickford for Ontario.

The parties announced the settlement on September 13, 2018. It includes a total of $1.11 billion in financial compensation to the Williams Treaties First Nations, recognition of treaty harvesting rights and an entitlement for each First Nation to add up to 11,000 acres to their reserve land base.

The settlement marks a historic step forward on a path of renewal, healing and reconciliation. The parties will work in the spirit of partnership and renewal to implement the settlement agreement, strengthen the ongoing treaty relationship and advance reconciliation.


“The Government of Canada apologizes for past wrongs relating to the 1923 Williams Treaties and deeply regrets the many injustices, hardships and indignities these Treaties created for community members over the past 95 years. There is no way to undo the past, but with this historic settlement we can begin to write a new chapter together where trust is rebuilt, treaty rights are celebrated and our ongoing treaty relationship is strengthened for the benefit of seven generations to come.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“This settlement is an important step in the reconciliation between Williams Treaties First Nations and the people of Canada and Ontario. I am excited to see the ambition that community members and leaders have to invest the proceeds of the settlement in a brighter future, full of new opportunities.”

The Honourable Greg Rickford, P.C. M.P.P.
Minister of Indigenous Affairs for Ontario

“After almost a century of our ancestors being denied access to their lands, their harvesting rights, their culture and their way of life, the Williams Treaties Settlement Agreement is a testament to the perseverance of our people. While no amount of compensation, financial or otherwise, can ever truly compensate or repair the intergenerational trauma or loss of cultural continuity that the seven First Nations signatory to the Williams Treaties have suffered, this settlement agreement marks the beginning of healing for our people. We look forward to a future that moves on from the legacy of 95 years of protesting, petitioning, litigating and finally negotiating to redress these historical injustices. Today we finally celebrate the just recognition of our existing constitutionally protected harvesting rights, ability to expand our lands, financial compensation and the formal apology from the governments of Canada and Ontario to our ancestors and all of our people. Today marks the renewal of our Treaty relationship with one another.”

Chief Kelly LaRocca
Portfolio Chief
Williams Treaties First Nations

Quick facts

  • The seven Williams Treaties First Nations are: Alderville First Nation, Chippewas of Beausoleil First Nation, Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, Chippewas of Rama First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation and Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

  • The negotiated settlement resolves the Alderville litigation, which was filed by the seven Williams Treaties First Nations in 1992.

  • Out-of-court negotiations between Canada, Ontario and the seven First Nations began in March 2017.

  • The negotiated settlement was approved by First Nation members in June 2018 and signed by the seven First Nations in July 2018 and by Ontario and Canada in August 2018.

  • Under the settlement, the First Nations can use the funds to buy land on a willing-seller/willing-buyer basis and apply to Canada to have the land added to their reserve land base.

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For more information, media may contact:

Matthew Dillon-Leitch
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Media Relations  
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Sydney Stonier
Office of the Honourable Greg Rickford
Minister of Indigenous Affairs for Ontario

Flavia Mussio
Ministry of Indigenous Affairs for Ontario
Issues Management & Media Relations
Chief Kelly LaRocca
Portfolio Chief
Williams Treaties First Nations

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